This beet and quinoa salad features steamed beets, quinoa, and feta folded together into a pretty salad that’s finished with a creamy lemon tahini dressing. Enjoy this nourishing dish cold or at room temperature, as a light main or a perfect side dish to a vegetarian main course.
I’m writing this as I sit on the ferry going north, watching the Northern California landscape jolt past the windows. I sat for a bit outside in the sun with my requisite Blue Bottle drip until the wind drove me inside. It’s a gorgeous day to be out on the water, and though the lack of rain is sorely lamented I cannot help but appreciate this dry and sunny winter/spring we’ve had — this, my last winter/spring in California for a while.
Meanwhile, thanks to the magic of the Internet and smart phones, I can tell you about this salad. The idea grew out of a long weekend full of many meals out, lots of cheese, and a chocolate milkshake and onion rings (!) consumed while watching a Giants game from a diner in Emeryville. My body was screaming at me to feed it vegetables and whole grains, and so I happily obliged.
Anyway, it’s not like eating quinoa and beets is a hardship for me — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. So when I make a beet and quinoa salad I feel like I’ve won the lunchtime lottery.
Yes, there’s a bit of feta here but I think you could do fine without if that’s your inclination; I also recommend making large batches and stashing them in your fridge for work lunches or a quick dinner when you’re pressed for time. Along with some good bread and hummus or a piece of baked fish you’ll be satisfied and full for hours (I will note I ate my portions unaccompanied by anything else and was quite pleased).
This salad may be easily doubled, and with most quinoa salad recipes is very forgiving. I love it as-is for its simplicity but you can add other vegetables as you like — steamed spinach? — or nuts, or sunflower seeds. It makes for a very hearty and packable lunch, and if you steam the beets while the quinoa is cooking the active time is greatly reduced as well. Omit the feta if you wish to keep dairy-free.
Beet and Quinoa Salad
For the Salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa , cooled
- 1 bunch red beets steamed, cooled, and chopped into quarters (about 4-5 beets)
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
For the Dressing
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3-4 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, stir together the quinoa, beets, feta, and chickpeas.
- In a small bowl whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, warm water, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.